“I thank God, whom I serve, as my ancestors did, with a clear conscience, as night and day I constantly remember you in my prayers.” (1:3)
Paul placed his relationship with God within a context of ancestral worship. Its doubtful Paul could have served God in the same capacity that he did if he hadn’t been introduced to religion as a child. Our ancestry is a crucial component of our spiritual and physical identity.
“I am reminded of your sincere faith, which first lived in your grandmother Lois and in your mother Eunice and, I am persuaded, now lives in you also.” (1:5)
Like Paul, Timothy was a servant of God because of his ancestry. His God fearing mother and grandmother placed in his heart and mind the fear of God and the information about him that was crucial for Timothy’s spiritual development. We are not individuals. We’re deeply influenced by our ancestral kin connections.
“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (1:7)
Christians shouldn’t be “cucked” and weak. We shouldn’t be effeminate and passive. God gave us a powerful spirit and a will to work and fight. We should be aggressive. Modern liberal Christians often elevate politically correct niceness to a position of high moral importance. Neither Jesus nor the prophets were “nice,” they spoke the truth with power and aggression. We’re not victims of the society in which we live; we’re Christians capable of self-discipline and prophetic attack.
“No one serving as a soldier gets entangled in civilian affairs, but rather tries to please his commanding officer. Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules. The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.” (2:4-6)
The temptation to enter the “rat-race” for money, power, and prestige is a dangerous one. It’s easy to justify it within ourselves. However, we must remember we’re fighting a spiritual war for the souls and bodies of our fellow human beings, and especially the people of our nations whom God placed us within to testify about him.
In this age of technology, decreased spirituality, and material philosophy we as Christians must put more effort than is normally required to build a counter-cultural movement that prioritizes a higher value system. We must find methods to show this deracinated population a different way of life.
“Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David. This is my gospel,” (2:8)
Jesus’ identity wasn’t merely an individual identity defined by himself. Jesus was the member of a royal family (Davidic Dynasty), and his ancestry and ethnic identity were crucial aspects of his worldly work.
“if we endure, we will also reign with him. If we disown him, he will also disown us;” (2:12)
The New Testament consistently uses hierarchal and royal language to discuss the church’s identity. Christians will “reign” with Christ which suggests we’ll attain a hierarchical position. God is not an egalitarian. However, we must be loyal to our king; the act of confessing him is proof of loyalty. We must move our minds back to an almost medieval conception of hierarchy to fully understand our relationship with Christ.
“Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth,” (2:25)
It’s always better to be gentle at the outset of a disagreement. Entering a dispute full of fire and anger will elevate conflict and maximize damage to oneself, one’s opponent, and the surrounding society. However, there’s a time for peace and a time for war. Jesus wasn’t very gentle with his opponents when he knew they were beyond reason.
“But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God - having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.” (3:1-5)
Once can’t read this passage without thinking of modern Western society. Almost all the vices Paul mentioned are openly celebrated by our culture. What’s worse, these vices are justified as forms of virtue: “freedom, toleration, love, capitalism etc.” There’s a “form of godliness” in liberal society, but it’s a rotten empty virtue based on human feelings, guided by sinful desire, and inspired by rebellious liberal philosophy.
“while evildoers and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it,” (3:13-14)
Modern liberal Christian theology began by allowing itself to be deceived by small things. Christian thinkers thought it was “ok” or “no big deal” if they ceded some moral ground to liberal philosophy by condemning slavery or embracing egalitarianism. This “small” deception, however, has mutated into a full embrace of feminism and the LGBT movement. Christian thought leaders began by contradicting the Bible on small issues, but they were finally consumed by the deceptions and totally abandoned a godly worldview or any concept of biblical sin.
“For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.” (4:3-4)
The growing LGBT Christian movement is a perfect illustration of Paul’s warning. The Christian position on homosexuality is clear and was held in consensus for the first 1,950 years of church history. In the last few decades, a minority of gay, lesbian, and “ally” theologians have begun revising the orthodox position on the issue. The truth is clear, but if you surround yourself with enough teachers to affirm your position you can deceive yourself into believing almost anything.